I love to use math games with my students. They seem to like them too. However, I've been frustrated for quite a while that I don't feel the math is as important to the students as I'd like it to be. It's clearly there, but I want kids to be aware of their thinking and sharing it. So, we teach kids things to say during a game to support that, but once they start playing they get caught up in the game (not a bad thing, actually).
One of our great math coaches recently suggested a way to scaffold this for kids. She suggested sentence starters. Give kids the prompt for sharing their thinking and learning about the math.
I've tried it with a few different math games this year and I'm amazed by it. The kids seem to appreciate having the support and use the sentence starters well.
I'm not ready to add these to every math game we play, but I'm glad to have this in my toolbox.